I finally got my Nintedo DS yesterday, and first impressions are very good. I like how it folds together since the screens run a smaller risk of getting scratched then. The first thing I looked at was PictoChat, the chat/doodle application in every NDS. It was a pleasant surprise that you can write hiragana & katakana in the chat even on models sold outside of Japan. I originally thought that one might be able to practice stroke orders with it, but after having tried it I don't think the resolution is high enough for the more complicated kanji. Since I don't know of anyone else with a DS I haven't had a chance to try to chat wirelessly.
I also got a game for it this Christmas, Kirby's Power Paintbrush, so I could also try out how the stylus worked in-game. Perhaps it was partly nostalgia (I was a big fan of the Kirby game on the NES), but as soon as I drew the first stroke in the tutorial mode I just started grinning like a little boy. I really felt like I was 12 again, or however old I was at that time.
It's pretty strange, but about two years ago, when I first heard of the Nintendo DS, with it's two screens, one of them a touch-screen, I was really scepticle about it. In my mind I was thinking of the Virtual Boy (heck, who wasn't?), but with time a number of titles appeared that all got good reviews and looked incredibly interesting. I would like to mention two factors that were important in turning me round to actually get one: Edge Magazine and Penny-Arcade. From Edge I got the proper reviews and also reviews of Japanese DS titles, I think that with my growing interest in Japanese this was one of the deciding things. From Penny-Arcade I could read a first-hand account from a sceptical early adopter that gradually started to see it's benefits. In fact, Penny-Arcade recently posted a retrospective of sorts in regards to this. I can't say "I told you so", because what he's describing is roughly how I feel, except I wasn't there to support it in the beginning.Publish